In Julia’s Garden
by Laura Wharton
Lily McGuire has her plants and her work as a landscape architect. What she doesn’t have (a man to date or an adventure to have) is just fine with her, thank you very much. Yet her world turns as chaotic as the grand old mansion’s garden she is restoring when a stranger presents her with the gardening journal of a 1940s socialite-gone-missing. Snarky and somewhat misanthropic, Lily must search its pages for clues to the young beauty’s disappearance and a potentially deadly mystery, despite the warning that she should tread carefully: the journal was the cause of Lily’s best friend’s death.
“Why did you use the word, ‘kill’?”
“Huh?” Jack leaned forward and put his arms on my desk.
“You said you didn’t think there was anything in here worth killing for. Macy wasn’t killed, Jack. She died of a heart attack, according to Dr. Tesh. Mr. Evans used the word, ‘die’…you are the only one who used the word, ‘kill.’ Why?”
“Didn’t you know? Julia Norton vanished. Her disappearance was never solved, and she was presumed dead. I got curious and perhaps a little nervous for you when I thought you might have something that could have led to Julia’s disappearance and possibly to Macy’s death. As I said, though, I didn’t find anything mysterious or titillating in there.” Jack pushed himself out of the chair and walked to the door.
“Jack, how do you know Julia Norton went missing?”
“I researched it online,” he responded, pointing at my computer. “It’s all there: archived newspaper stories and a page or two from a magazine featuring a socialite’s column about her. That’s what I was doing this morning. I was researching. Seems Julia was a popular young lady. Very popular. She came from a good family whose fortunes dwindled during the Great Depression. When the war began, her family did what it could for the war effort, and her father was rewarded handsomely by the city of Columbia for his ability to put people back to work making parts for airplanes. As the war came to a close, the family’s finances stabilized, but Julia went into a tailspin over something. One article said she began turning down invitations to big parties after the boys came home. Another reported that rumors about a secret marriage made her go into hiding. Anyway, there wasn’t anything about that in the journal. Just notes about parties when she was young, plants she liked…stuff like that was in the pages that I did manage to get through. Like I said, I couldn’t keep my eyes open for the whole thing.” Jack stood up and slung his backpack over his shoulder. “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about, Lily. Anyway, I’ve got your back, just in case.”
Interview with the Author:
1. How long have you been writing? The short answer is “forever.” I started writing as a hobby when I was a child and have had professional positions that involve writing heavily ever since college. I’ve written everything from advertising and website content, newspaper and magazine articles, trade journal articles, and technical documentation. Writing fiction is a natural progression for me – I’ve been telling stories my whole life.
2. How long have you been a published author? Since 2010.
3. What titles do you have available? My first book, The Pirate’s Bastard, was published in 2010. The next one, Leaving Lukens, was released in 2011. I moved to children’s mysteries for a few years (Mystery at the Lake House series and others), and then back to adult fiction with Deceived: A Sam McClellan Tale, which was released in May of 2015, and In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery, which has just been released.
4. What made you choose the subject of this book? I read a short article about a historic home in Columbia, S.C., that had undergone restoration. The article’s focus, though, was the long-neglected gardens. A masterplan had been drafted for its restoration. Upon visiting the garden, I just knew that was the setting of the story. I asked myself, “what if?” and the story just took off.
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon? Both Deceived: A Sam McClellan Tale and In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery are the first of new series. Stung: A Sam McClellan Tale, will be released in spring of 2016. The last of the Mystery at the Lake House series will be released in the summer of 2016.
6. What is your favorite genre and why? I love mysteries because of the many layers the story has to have. The characters have to be credible, smart, and believable, but they also have to uncover clues just as the reader does. I also love adventure stories, so I combine both in my stories.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? The most exciting part of the writing process is character development. I love seeing characters come to life.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? The Mystery at the Lake House series is co-written with my teenaged son, Will Wharton. I enjoy writing with him because he comes up with the greatest ideas! I love to see the spark in children’s eyes when they tell stories.
9. Where can readers find you on the web? Readers can find me at http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com, or on Facebook – I love to connect with readers!
“In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery” Coming December 2015
Laura S. Wharton’s Eighth Novel Marries Contemporary Setting with Mystery Set in History
Lily McGuire has her plants and her work as a landscape architect in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. What she doesn’t have (a man to date or an adventure to have) is just fine with her, thank you very much. Yet her whole world turns as chaotic as the grand old mansion’s garden she’s restoring when a stranger presents her with the gardening journal of a 1940s socialite-gone-missing. Snarky and somewhat misanthropic Lily must search its pages for clues to the young beauty’s disappearance and a potentially deadly mystery despite the warning that she should tread carefully: the journal was the cause of Lily’s best friend’s death, assures the stranger. Appearances aside, the old man doesn’t seem trustworthy. But then again, Lily doesn’t trust anyone, so why should he be any different?
In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery is a contemporary mystery set in Winston-Salem with roots firmly planted in a historic southern garden in Columbia, South Carolina. Readers will recognize many of the places mentioned in the book (Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery, Krankie’s Coffee, Sweet Potatoes, 6th and Vine, etc.), so they can stroll along with Lily as she hunts for clues.
In the first of a series, Lily McGuire pieces together clues she finds in the missing socialite’s journal to discover what happened to Julia and to find closure on the death of her best friend who ran the small landscape architectural firm where Lily works. Lily also must tend to her own past, a landscape riddled with an emotionally draining failed marriage to a two- (or is it five, now?) timer who will be at their son’s upcoming college graduation, and attractive—but pesky—coworker Jack Chapman who is definitely not her type. Maybe.
Wharton’s other award-winning titles for adults and mysteries for children written with children, include Deceived: A Sam McClellan Tale, Leaving Lukens, The Pirate’s Bastard, Monsters Below, The Mermaid’s Tale, Mystery at the Phoenix Festival, and The Wizard’s Quest. Deceived is the first in a series. In Julia’s Garden is available through Wharton’s website, http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com, independent bookstores and online booksellers (Amazon.com, B&N.com). It is also available online for e-book fans.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
North Carolina author Laura S. Wharton writes sea adventure/ suspense/mystery novels for adults and mysteries for children. Her love of history, gardening, and mystery often collide in her tales of adventurous people who rise above challenges in stories that twist and turn along the way toward satisfying—though not expected—endings. A technical writer by trade, Wharton has held every conceivable position in the communications and journalism fields. Wharton lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, teenaged son, three cats and one extremely tolerant dog. She is a recovering sailor who could backslide at any moment.
QUICK BOOK FACTS
Title: In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery
Author: Laura S. Wharton
Publishing Date: December 2015
ISBN (Print): 978-0-9904662-9-1
Library of Congress Number: 2015913704
Paperback (available in e-book, too)
Pages: 244 (including cover)
Genre: Adult Mystery
Cover Art: Canadian artist Francois Thisdale
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT
Laura S. Wharton
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Referred to as the American P.D. James, Laura S. Wharton is the author of sea adventure/suspense/mystery novels for adults and mysteries for children. Award-winning adult titles include Deceived: A Sam McClellan Tale, The Pirate’s Bastard, and Leaving Lukens. Wharton also is the author of four mysteries for children, including the popular award-winning Mystery at the Lake House series, and others. Most of her books involve adventure, fun, a little history, and sailboats. (She is a recovering sailor who could backslide at any moment!)
The book will be .99 during the tour.
Laura Wharton will be awarding a copy of In Julia’s Garden (U.S.) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: